East Lothian Council

Pay to Stay

Dealing with rent arrears

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Paying rent is the most important part of your tenancy agreement.  It is important that you pay your rent on time and in full and that you are aware of the consequences if you do not pay.

Rent is charged each fortnight and is payable in advance by the first Monday of each rent period.  Any payment not made on time will be treated as rent arrears.

How to prevent rent arrears and get the help you need

If you are having problems paying your rent or want to speak to someone about rent arrears, the rent income team at East Lothian Council can help you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t delay.  Friendly and experienced rent income officers are available to deal with your concerns confidentially and sensitively and will make sure you get the help you need.

A rent income officer will:

• make sure you are receiving all benefit you may be entitled to

• help you to complete application forms

• refer you to other agencies for a financial assessment if you have multiple debts

• if you are unable to pay your rent arrears in full, a rent income officer may discuss an affordable repayment arrangement with you. 

What happens if you don’t pay your rent?

East Lothian Council operates a six-stage rent arrears recovery process as shown in the illustration below. 

Tenants will be offered help and support to manage their payments, however failure to respond to our attempts to resolve the situation will result in legal action being taken against you to recovery the property.

6 stages of recovery





What happens if you are evicted from your Council house?

An eviction could have a very serious impact on your re-housing options and you cannot assume that you will be re-housed by East Lothian Council.  The circumstances of each eviction will be considered in accordance with the homelessness legislation contained within the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987.

If you apply to be re-housed by East Lothian Council after an eviction, the Council would assess whether or not it had any housing responsibilities towards you. The Council cannot assess homelessness until it occurs but it is possible that you could be seen to be intentionally homeless.  This would mean the Council would have to  provide you with advice and assistance but would have no permanent re-housing responsibilities towards you.


It is your responsibility to ensure that your rent is paid on time and in full.  Failure to deal with rent arrears could result in legal action being taken against you and you could be at risk of losing your home.

If you have rent arrears or are concerned about paying your rent, don’t delay. Contact the rent income team now.  You don’t have to deal with this alone.

Important Information about Universal Credit

From 23rd March 2016, Universal Credit has been extended in East Lothian to include ALL new claimants of working age.

If you are of working age and were intending to make a new claim for housing benefit, you may now be required to claim help towards your housing costs as part of your Universal Credit claim.

You will NOT be able to claim for help with your council tax as part of your Universal Credit claim.  You MUST make a separate claim to East Lothian Council for this.

You can make a claim for council tax reduction online.

East Lothian Council, PO Box 13258, Haddington, EH41 3YA

Telephone: 01620 827528

How we use the information you provide.

Benefits are changing. Find out how this may affect you on our Welfare Reform information and advice pages.

Watch our housing advice videos. These show how we can help with a range of issues from relationship breakdown, to finding a private let. They explain recent Benefits changes, as well.
If you need any further advice or guidance, please contact us.

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.